'Smuggling arms from Syria into Iraq has slowed'

Infiltration of arms and fighters from Syria into Iraq has slowed, but a major reason is that the terrorists of al-Qaida in Iraq now need less foreign help, a senior US general said Friday. Visiting this remote outpost, just a stone's throw from the border, Marine Maj. -Gen. Walter E. Gaskin said the change has made persistent infiltration of men, weapons and money less of a concern to US forces here. However, it also suggests a troubling maturation of al-Qaida in Iraq, the main terrorist organization targeted by American troops in the country. "Al-Qaida has become self-sufficient inside the country," Gaskin said in an interview with The Associated Press.